Before the recent launch of Xiaomi Note 3, I was commissioned by Xiaomi to use the phone-camera and create a collection of colourful images. Here is the set of images created during my assignment. Do have a look at the them below, and scroll down to read-on about my thoughts on photography with a mobile-phone.
Until now, I hadn’t taken mobile-phone photography seriously. My slightly older smartphone did not have a very powerful camera. Although I kept reading about how much better the phone-cameras are becoming, I wasn’t too sure. Using the Xiaomi Note 3 helped me change my opinion about smart-phone cameras. Today’s phone-cameras can easily create good quality images, which could once be made only with a decent quality dedicated digital camera.
The Xiaomi Note 3 produced good quality, vivid and sharp images that made me feel that I can manage with this camera with many situations, especially when the light is just right and when you are fairly close to the subject.
There are, however, difficult situations when a phone camera may struggle. When the contrast in the scene is high, it can be hard to make faithful images since the dynamic range of the sensors may not be the best. Phone-camera makers solve this problem to a great extent through powerful and fast processes for creating good-quality HDR images.
Low-light capability is another area that needs improvement, and phone-cameras have already made considerable progress in getting better images in inadequate lighting situations. But they remain a long way from current-day DSLRs. Another area where you feel the need for a larger camera is when you need magnification with the help of a longer lens. A few attempts to fix optical zoom lenses to phone-cameras hasn’t been successful until so far.
To conclude, a good phone-camera today can easily serve as a replacement to a dedicated camera, except when (a) you need professional quality output for commercial use or (b) you need to produce high quality images in challenging light situations or (c) when you need a lot of magnification. I would go ahead and say, it is worthwhile leaving your bigger camera behind and just live with your phone-camera for everyday purposes, including recording things and events around you or creating memories of your personal/family travels.